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The Maastricht Diplomat

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A Story of Trump and Protests

It is almost exam week in Maastricht again and even though we sometimes feel like the world around us stops, it (luckily) doesn’t. In case you didn’t have time to read the news this week, here is a summary of some important things that happened.

Firstly, there is some news with regard to the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. The impeachment procedure against president Trump began in September this year because an anonymous whistle-blower complained to Congress that Trump withheld military aid. Additionally, Trump used a White House meeting as a way to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing investigations against Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden. In July, Trump also asked Zelensky in a phone call to pursue investigations against Joe Biden and his sonand to support the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, stood behind the 2016 presidential election.

The House judiciary committee now released a report on constitutional grounds for impeachment before Monday’s public hearing to consider evidence against Trump. Donald Trump described this process as a ‘witch-hunt’. However, a vote on articles of impeachment could already be held next week.

But that’s not the only reason why Trump appeared in the news this week. French President Macron gave an interview to The Economist in which he stated that ‘What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.’ On the morning after a two-day NATO meeting, Trump blasts Macron’s ‘brain dead’ comments on the NATO as a ‘very, very nasty statement’. He further said that ‘nobody needs NATO more than France’. Macron mainly based his statement on criticism of NATO to reflect his frustration of the situation between Turkey and Syria. In October, Turkey (who is a member of NATO) entered Syria without coordination with any NATO partner aside from the US. Macron figures that this invasion has undermined the battle against Islamic State. Trump however, seems to side with the Turkish leader Recep Tyyip Erdoğan. He said that Turkey ‘couldn’t be nicer, more supportive, very helpful.’ Trump also added that the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed because of Turkey’s cooperation.

Meanwhile, the United Nation climate summit, known as COP25, started on Monday this week in Madrid and will last until 13 December. The aim is to bring countries together to consider ways to strengthen the joint implementation of the Paris Agreement. Climate activist Greta Thunberg also arrived in Madrid on Monday morning to participate the march that took place in the Spanish capital. She spoke in a press conference about the impact the global climate strike movement had so far and stated that ‘we are getting bigger and bigger, and our voices are being heard more and more, but of course that does not translate into political action.’

After the speech, the march took place in Madrid. According to a tweet posted by Greta and Greenpeace Germany, half- million people demonstrated in Madrid, demanding for climate justice and political changes. The Spanish police said that only 15.000 people participated in the demonstration. An explanation for this discrepancy in numbers has not been shared yet.

Those are not the only protests going on right now. In Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, thousands of people thronged the streets for a third national strike in two weeks, aiming to put more pressure on the right-wing president Iván Duque and his proposed new tax reforms.

In India as well, the group rape and murder of a vet in Hyderbad has triggered mass protests of thousands of people. The people expressed their rage about the ongoing mass rape and murder of girls and women in the country. A survey conducted by UN Women showed that 95% of female residents in New Delhi feel ‘unsafe’ in public spaces of the city. For a long time, there have been terrible cases of rape and murder in India, which have been subject to discussion. There has also been changes in law which results in longer sentences for rapist. However, a lot of activist claim that the government does not do enough about the rising number of violent crimes against women.

Image retrieved from:

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock (10434333bm) Donald Trump, Sauli Niinisto. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington Trump, Washington, USA – 02 Oct 2019

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